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Old 01-13-2018, 11:05 PM   #1
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Residential vs Propane Refrigerator

We are upgrading to a 3718 Dutch Star and Iím trying to decide between a Residential vs Propane refrigerator. We spend a fair bit of time without hookups. Iím having a hard time getting data I can trust on how long we can camp without hookups before we need to start the generator. Assume typical living, 12v only, no solar. Any info and real life experience will be helpful. Thanks.

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:34 PM   #2
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Depends of course on how large the capacity your battery bank is. Likely the RR option includes additional batteries. Our coach was four without - six with.

Daily generator run of at least a couple three hours or more is likely.

We dry camp. Three coaches. Current is first with RR. Live it. Would never go back to a RV unit.

Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:50 AM   #3
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This is our first RR in an RV and we also would never go back to the RV fridge. Our limiting factor for dry camping is the water usage of the macerator toilets. Tried to get one non-macerator toilet and dealer said it could not be done. We don't dry camp that often. I think the all electric was a good choice for us.
Paul, Christy and Leap
2017 Dutch Star 4018, 2017 Jeep Wrangler
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:01 AM   #4
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When they started putting residential refrigerators in smaller units they found they had to add a second battery to make it through the night. Consider that around 8-12 hours. One can buy bigger batteries that will last longer but should give you a clue.

FWIW I am not a fan of residential refrigerators. I do understand a lot more about power balancing than most folks. They do not seem to be worth the hassle to get enough batteries into anything less than a dp.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:13 AM   #5
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I have 4= 6 volt Trojans and they last 48 Hrs +- running Residential fridge +lights small 5 cu ft freezer.
"That's my Opinion and I could be Wrong"
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:13 AM   #6
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I think Newmar puts 8 batteries in their total electric coaches if that's the direction you are going. If you are getting a RR, then you might as well and gain the extra storage space in lieu of the propane tank. My 07 was an early TE coach and only came with 6 batteries, but I have upgraded to 8. With 900 Ah, I can easily go 24 hours, but I usually start the gen in the AM and again in the PM. One very important piece of equipment is a battery monitor like the Magnum BMK. If it's not an option, I would have one installed immediately. It's like a fuel gauge for your batteries.
Scotty and Kristen, Airedales Dagny and Wyatt
2007 Newmar Mountain Aire 4528, 450 HP ISM, Allison 4000, 8 Trojan T-105's
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Frank94062 View Post
We are upgrading to a 3718 Dutch Star and Iím trying to decide between a Residential vs Propane refrigerator. We spend a fair bit of time without hookups. Iím having a hard time getting data I can trust on how long we can camp without hookups before we need to start the generator. Assume typical living, 12v only, no solar. Any info and real life experience will be helpful. Thanks.
Hi Frank,

Welcome...I SEE ITís your first post.

I canít really help you with whatís typical...I can tell you what an all-electric coach sitting unplugged...MS2812 Inverter supplying power to the fridge, outlets, microwave circuitry, a couple of security cameras and wall chargers...we average around 10.8 amps per hour of combined 12v storage drain.

Stored...our eight Interstate batteries (928aH) will keep the fridge and residual drains going for just under 2 days...respecting a 50% limit on AH use for battery health. That is not using Solar.

Living unplugged, Weíre unable to provide you with accurate data...we have no propane...use Oasis for heating and hot water, fans or air conditioning on generator, and we have added Solar... We did a 5 day stay in Albuquerque un-plugged and I found that we would have to be very frugal to go Solar alone. We decided to enjoy our espresso...assist with recharging in the evening so that we could run floor fans, etc...all night (love air circulation)...we totaled 6.5 Hrs on the generator over the five days. Iím sure with a little discipline and clear sunny skies we could learn to need even less. Without Solar, I think most folks routinely run a generator a little each day. Having your system topped up each day...just seems to make it easier to manage. If you do intend to cycle Lead Acid batteries without fully charging them...they recommend doing a complete charge weekly or so to prevent sulfation.

When we ordered our coach we had an option to either add residential fridge, which came with a 2000w Inverter and two additional batteries, or go all-electric...which added the 2800w Inverter, removed the propane, added four batteries, induction cooktop, Convection/Microwave, and Oasis for furnace and hot water.

I hope you come across somebody that has done exactly the same upgrade, so you can get some apples to apples comparisons.

Please just ask...if there is anything I can test on my end to give you data that you need. I have a battery monitor installed...so I can read the amp loads whenever I flip something on/off...etc...

I forgot to mention...during my 10.8a drain test...we had the ice maker turned off...water pump off...
Charlie & Ronni
2016 Ventana 4037
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:11 PM   #8
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A lot depends on what you do during the day, but you'll be running your generator between 3-4 hours a day. That sounds like a lot, but really isn't. For us, we typically get up in the morning and start the generator. This replenishes the batteries from overnight use and allows you to do your cooking, showers and morning prep. About the time you're ready to head out for the day, you'll have about 1.5 - 2 hours of charge time, which will be pretty much fully charged.

Around dinner time, fire up the generator, cook and eat dinner and shut the generator down, usually another 1.5 - 2 hours.

Obviously, there are several variables like watching TV all day, (a lot of battery use) or being gone all day until late evening, (little battery use).

We converted our 2005 Diplomat to a residential refrigerator in about 2009 and would NEVER go back. The days of having lukewarm food and drinks after driving on 90-100 degree days is gone. No more opening the door and grabbing something as fast as you can so you don't let the cold air out.

If you find that you're boon docking more than you thought, buy a small Honda 2000 generator and use it to charge your coach batteries rather than run the big diesel if it bothers you.

The REALITY......at the current price of diesel, running your generator is the cheapest option, versus some who add thousands in solar. That's a lot of diesel fuel.
Don & Mary
2019 Newmar Dutch Star 4018
2019 Ford Raptor
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:30 PM   #9
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Hi - Our current coach is our third with a residential refrigerator. No way would we ever go back. While we don't boondock for large periods of time we do enough to know the parameters. The advice above is accurate, figure on 2 hours of generator in the morning to recharge the batteries and about an hour to get a good surface charge before bed time. It's important to realize that it isn't a matter of will the batteries make it. Rather it is a matter of the longevity of the battery bank. If you run the batteries through deep discharge cycles their life span will be shorter. If you do more moderate discharges then you won't be shopping for batteries nearly as often. The first two coaches with a residential unit has 6 wet cells and overnight would go to about 65%- 70%. Current unit has 8 AGM's and overnight will take them to 70% to 75% state of charge. Hope this helps.
Tom and Annie & Java
Fulltiming since 2011
2020 DSDP 4369 Spartan
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:38 PM   #10
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We have no generator in our RV. And we do not have a propane refrigerator. Our refrigerator has a compressor that runs on AC or DC. We have three solar panels. Turned our refrigerator on a year ago and it has not been turned off since. We boondocks 90% of the time. Nice to have ice cream that is actually frozen.

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propane, refrigerator

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